WordPress Blog Spam Solution That Works

Blue Man Crushed by Spam

Photo credit WebTechWise

UPDATE: the new GASP Anti-Spam WordPress plugin has been released and is available in the WordPress Plugin Repository.

THIS is the ALTERNATIVE TO AKISMET that provides the SOLUTION to being Flagged as a Spammer! Spread it throughout the blogosphere and your comments will work again.

The problem with most WordPress plugins that stop blog comment spam is that they are blocking regular commentators too.

Because Akismet blocks so many or our best commentators we have elected to go with this process:

  1. Disable Akismet because it repeatedly blocks regular readers and commentators and will continue to do so unless Automattic decides to change the way their algorithm works to make it easier for real commentators to get unflagged as spammers or to more heavily weight trusted bloggers who know the difference between real spam and comments they don’t happen to care for personally.
  2. Make sure you are not running any other plugins that put comments into the spam section.
  3. Use the blacklist function found under Settings, Discussion in your WordPress Dashboard.
  4. Install a plugin that blocks bots. We are currently testing a new anti-spam plugin specifically designed to do that.

There are various methods for blocking bots:

  1. Captchas – some object to any captcha and while we tested one that was easy to read three regular readers complained within 48 hours that the plugin said they entered incorrectly when they did not. While clearing cookies may have resolved that issue, if experienced bloggers don’t know that neither will most Internet users.
  2. Plugins that require answers such as the math plugin (which we removed when it told commentators their answers were wrong when they weren’t)
  3. Plugins like WP-SpamFree (which we have not used because it blocks business related words in KeywordLuv such as business, marketing, sales, etc.)
  4. Plugins like Bad Behavior (not recommended because it can lock you out of your blog and requires manually editing of multiple files to remove manually).

The WordPress blacklist function does not actually prevent spammers from commenting – it only puts their comments into the spam section.

However, as long as nothing else is putting anything into that folder and you are very careful about what you put in the blacklist, using it is a vast improvement over Akismet and other anti-spam plugins that put consistently put real comments into that area along with the spam.

Do not make the mistake of putting any word in the blacklist that is included in any other word or you will block real comments – even yours.

For example, one word many wish to block would block the words assume, assumption, brass, etc. so you can NOT block that type of word with a blacklist.

You CAN block all kinds of words that you are certain would not appear in a comment in your blog. Do try to think of any scenario and any business name or domain that might choose to read you and do your best not to block them accidentally.

Blacklists alone are NOT a suitable spam solution because they need to be continually updated, but they are useful when used with another plugin.

Since adding a huge list of spammers and words to the WordPress blacklist function it has moved just under 2,000 comments to spam. I manually reviewed them – all 55 pages of them – and verified that there were no real comments being caught by my blacklist.

I will email it to anyone who requests it (just leave a comment in this post) and if someone can tell me how I will make it downloadable here.

Andy Bailey of CommentLuv has created a new WordPress plugin based on a suggestion and input from Phil Hollows of FeedBlitz. We have tested that plugin first in a healthy living blog and then in this blog before making it available for others.

If you have a test site and are willing to install the plugin to verify that it plays nicely with your Theme and existing plugins contact me.

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Gail Gardner

Small Businsss Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of GrowMap.com, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.